Saturday, May 31, 2008
"Try Walking in my shoes" is sometimes what I hear say. You just can't. But you can at least make new experiences and finally get in touch with the reality of the other one. This week I went to a dark restaurant. I explain. I noticed years ago the place near mine where I wanted to go. It's a place completely in the dark because blind people does not need light. It's a restaurant where blind people try to make you discover their world. Then you realize how It is difficult in a new environment to find your marks without vision. You need to book a long time ago to have a table at the Unsicht-bar. We talked about it for weeks with the ones I was going with, imagining the best and the worse. We were secretely hoping there would be green peas or mash potatoes just as a reminder of school when at lunch time we started to throw all this at the head of our neighbour. It simply shows that we were not at our best entering the place. Blind means you don't see except by the image you made in your head. We don't do that because we see and our vision helps us create our space. Suddenly not being able to see, forces you to make your brain works and It is much more difficult than you imagine. First you enter the place. It's not dark yet. It's a lounge where you can wait your friends to join you drinking your glass of wine (Rosé now, It's really cool weather these days). Then you have to make your choice of the menu and there is a lot of choice. Because we wanted the full package we all decided to take the 4 courses "surprise" menu. And we haven't been disapointed. When all is set, our host dedicated to our table comes to lead us to our table. Angela explains us how to manage the way. Just put your hand on my shoulder and follow me. So like a little train we all go in the dark room (no, daaaarling, not this one). Then she places us at the table and indicates where are the things and she brings soon the glasses, the wine and the water bottles. And again explains where are things. Because she is in charge and we are under her spell. "Ehhh, sorry, Angela, if I need to re-powder my noise ?" ; "Just scream my name, Baby, and I will help you". Cooooooooool. So where is the bottle of wine ? Anyone ? need your glass. Okaayyyyyyyy ... yep got it ! then the trick not to pour too much in the glass is to put your finger in the glass (nobody sees, he he he) and when your finger is wet, the level is good. Replace the bottle near me, okaaaaaaayyyyyyy, a toast ? yes certainly, don't forget to look me in the eyes and do not cross the glasses together, It's bad luck. Then the salad arrives, all fine, my fingers full of sauce, no problem because you forget quickly how to eat with accessories, Angela managing perfectly the disposition. Then the soup (lucky me It's a bowl and not a plate, so this one's easy) and the main course and dessert. Really good quality food. But we just don't know what we had. Actually we did because back to the lounge we had the possibility to ask Angela what was for the surprise dinner. And there comes the big surprise. Your vision helps you to identify what you have in your plate : you put 1 + 1 together between the image your brain receives and the name and the taste you put on it but in the case you don't see ? One sense left and you're lost. You think this is mushroom soup but in fact It's corn soup. You think you had chicken breast when you had beef tongue (one of my friend knowing that spoke about it the whole day after) and then when we thought we had a 3 chocolate mousse It was in fact chilly, cinnamon and coffee (very light I agree). We were sure about the espresso and the wine which were very good. We talked about it along with cocktails at the Neue Odessa Bar. For example in a public place your eyes wander around to look at the place and people. Your eyes catch what is attractive to you. In a dark place you can't fix anything and we discussed about our behaviour during dinner. We all disagree about the space we were, the size and shape of the table, how we were placed, what we did during 2 hours. So we all have a different way of imaging things. In the end a great new experience that I would definitely recommand.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I work in an european community with french, belgium, spanish, dutch, german people and some other countries are represented as well but mostly by marriage. We almost all have the same history, meaning that we all come from different countries, with a good background and a previous international career. For whichever ground we ended up in Berlin and try to make the best of it. We of course try to make colleagues know more about ourselves and our culture, organizing some events but this stays an individual manifestation. There is one thing nevertheless that leads us in the same direction is the European Song Contest. It took place this week-end in Belgrade (the winner of last year) and as far as I remember It always existed since TV is switched on. Now It is more worldwide than european because I learned last week (It's been years since I watched It for the last time) that Iceland, Israël, Albania, Russia and some other far away are participating because they are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It all started in 1956 and the most famous winner is certainly ABBA and their hit Waterloo in 1974. But do you remember Céline Dion in 1988 singing for Switzerland ? The original idea was to create one television show to be transmitted simultaneously in all represented nations. The competition was based upon the Italian Festival di Sanremo, held for the first time in 1951, and was also seen as a technological experiment in live television : In those days, it was a very ambitious project to join many countries together in a wide-area international network. Satellite television did not exist yet at that time, and the Eurovision Network comprised a terrestrial microwave network. Without interruption, the Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast every year since 1956, which makes it one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. The competition has been broadcast throughout Europe, but also in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States, even though these countries do not participate. What is fun is not the songs to hear by themselves (we hate them all and the artist will never survive such an event, maybe one more song ?) and thanks to Youtube you can make your own decision way before the official contest but It is the never ending countdown of points that is worth seeing. Today there are 43 countries so I let you imagine each of participant scoring from 0 to 12 points (maximum rate). But the organizers decided It was too much even for the more patient human so now each representative of the country broadcast has less than 30 seconds to announce 8-10 and 12 points while on the screen you see the rest of the scores. It's funny how some try desperatly to maintain a suspens when there is absolutly none and some other making mistakes announcing 12 points for Greece ! (Hurrrraaayyyy) oh sorry It's 12 points for Russia oups sorry and bla bla bla. So the countdown can take hours and I understand organizers had to clean a little bit. Anyway this year before the finale we all went to Youtube and made our pronostics. We were very disapointed that our Belgium colleagues did not reach the finale, we French were OK to admit that we would lose this year again and Germany as usual was going there to win and nothing less. In the end the one we thought the most ridiculous won (Russia, the singer with his opened shirt and the ice skater turning around him while a third one is doing whatever), France was in the middle lost somewhere but happy to participate and we were not sad about the hilarious make-up and Germany arrived the last. They were so mad that they left before the end, they said It was a disaster (who cares ?) and argued what they can do well is playing football and fucking France which gained more points than they did. They just can't help themselves. Playing for the only pleasure of the game and being simply happy is unknown concept to them and that is what certainly make me the sadest in the end... for them because from my side I had a wonderful time sharing with my european community one of the best show of the year.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today in France is Mother's day, meaning that you have to celebrate your mother for the day. As a child you just have no idea what It really means and when your father brings you to the store arguing this beautiful kitchen robot is the ultimate accessory that your mummy wants (while she's dreaming of perfume, diamonds and exotic trips at blue lagoons) you just say yes. Then your father, after this great adventure (for him), will bring you to the café round the corner to bet, to meet his friends and smoke cigares while you would be standing there at the bar eating peanuts and drinking grenadine (on water). At school It was neither a big help because the only thing the teacher would help you to make was a necklace made of noodles or a leaf salad ashtray (and Mum is a non-smoker). With the time you realize that your mother does not really fancy those accessories nor use them and with your own little money you'd proudly buy flowers. With even more time and distance, thanks to internet you can achieve a lot of things and you still send some flowers once in a while, feeling obliged. Now you realize your mother has everything she needs but what she really still wants is your unconditional love and wants you to show it. So come on give her a call and tell her thank you. Whatever It feels like she put you on this earth so make the best of it. I'm sure you do. To tell you about last night the concert was an event. Sir Simon Rattle asked a standing ovation for the policemen and firemen who helped with the fire at the Philarmonie and confirmed "It has been a week". Programm was simple with Beethoven's Klavierkonzert Nr. 4 G-Dur op. 58 and Berlioz' Te Deum op. 22. Claudio Abbado conducted with a master's hand and even Mother Nature seemed to accept the fact we were living a special moment. It's like the wind was hearing the music : at strong moments we could feel it and on rare occasions when we needed peace everything was quiet. I agree that 1 full orchester and 8 choirs on a scene (roughly 300 people !) is impressive. For this the Waldbühne is perfect. I hardly imagine how It would have been at the concert hall. Maybe the night could have come earlier to add something with the mood but no doubt It was unforgettable. I guess about 20 000 people were there listening in silent and watching eagles flying but because of the children' choirs every kind of people was there : the aficionados of classical music mixed together with parents who came to see and hear their progeniture. We still claped our hands when the orchester came back and joined us for the final applaud.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
There was this week a fire at the Philarmonie, meaning that until beginning of June there will be no concert in the main hall. So we were wondering where the concerts will take place because for example Claudio Abado is the conductor of the Berliner Philarmoniker tonight and must play. And guess what, this was announced : "Due to a fire in the roof of the Philharmonie, the concerts scheduled for 23, 24 and 25 May with Claudio Abbado cannot take place in the Main Hall. We are however pleased to announce a replacement venue: a joined concert will take place at the open-air Waldbühne on Saturday, 24 May at 7 pm. All tickets (regardless of the original concert date) will be valid." Of course I am very sorry for the building and I wish there are not much damages but Claudio Abado at the Waldbühne, waoooohhhhhhhhh, this is an event. Can't wait and need to get ready, the weather looks nice, It starts early and we need nice places. We will organize simple picnic at the place with cristal wine glasses and candles.
Friday, May 23, 2008
This is not the last place to go and/or to be seen. This is not a bar, an art gallery or a restaurant. Nevertheless It is the place to be since years for the nightout and you can't come to Berlin and not have been to berghain. I already talked about parties we had and surely will have at this hype place (an old electricity company, incredible what they have done with it) but today you will discover a new face of this place : the "classical" one. So normally you queue at 3-4 o'clock in the morning (I always arrive early so I don't !) among a crowd mixing every style. I have friends who don't go out at night, put the alarm clock at 6.00 a.m and go dancing at the after. They say It is the best time but at this hour I am very far from being able to keep on dancing. Last time when I went out at 5.00 I had to put my sunglasses because the (real) light hurt my eyes ! well anyway, for this special Yellow Lounge It's way earlier, about 9.00 p.m. We queue as usual but the crowd is diffferent, much more up tight, clean and shaved. Here you will notice an elegant black dress, there another one, those dresses you would normally see at the opera, embassy cocktails or grand openings. The other Berlin. At the entrance door the logo and its yellow cubes to demonstrate that classical music can enter anywhere. It is a cause served with passion by a new generation of musicians, all members of audacious groups : Mahler Chamber Orchestra, pianist Hélène Grimaud, soprano Danielle de Niese, unexpected Sting, Edin Karamazv and their lute ... . Last May 13th saw the venue of the Fauré Quartett : piano, violin, alto and cello. We go in the place without bumping anyone, your ticket costs 5 €. You don't really recognize the temple of the electro. The darkroom corridors are free, the metalic stairs make less noise than the other nights, the scene is at the first floor but the building is still amazing. As a starter and to keep you waiting, 2 DJ's (Key and Terrible, true, this is no invention !) are mixing classical music. You can read some texts moving on the glass window separating the bar. In such a place doing minimalistic atmosphere (no special light effects) is really a big bet but success seems there. The Quartett just arrived and starts to play Dvorak, Mahler, Brahms ... . The public is completely thrilled and huge screens show the event. Even Arte (if I had TV I would watch only this channel) is there and helps for the event. The images are B&W, full coloured, sepia, distortioned. But soon It is the end and we leave acclaiming the quartett playing a few late notes. The electro will take its place back and its public. The idea of Yellow Lounge comes from Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Music (also in Berlin) and was launched in February 2001 in Hamburg (2 hours from here) at the bar Die Welt ist schön (the world is nice). Moved to Berlin in 2004 the concept arrived at Cookies (you can forget now, was OK a few years ago) before moving to other clubs. Famous german DJ's come to mix music and celebrities give concerts. Since April 2003 David Canisius from the Deutsche Kammer Orchester is resident DJ of the Yellow Lounge in Berlin. You never know when the next event will take place. You're informed via the newsletter so you must be registered. Another way to discover and to listen classical music.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tomorrow will be the official opening in Berlin of the Design May. This event is one of the big occasion to celebrate design from the city and It is very rich in creation. Every designer, from whichever country he/she 's from but is working in the city has the possibility during this week to exhibit. There is a way to follow and from the approximate organization of the first years, now It is very well organized. Even a bus tour, along two individually planned routes, visit hot spots of 35 special DMY Allstars exhibitions, group shows and open studios. While ‘DMY Allstars n°1’ tours the eastern part of the city, ‘DMY Allstars n° 2’ takes its passengers through the western half, all the way to the city limits at the Haus am Waldsee. Final stop for both routes is the Arena, where the non-stop programme marathon smoothly crosses over to the neighbouring Glashaus, which hosts the Pecha Kucha Night. It is he occasion to visit places you would never go to, because you just don't know they exist or you can't (public offices, private company buildings ...). Back from Milan where she exhibited a few weeks ago, Pluma Cubic (my favorite among talented artists, there is feelings in those lights and I know the hard work she's having) takes part as "Made in Berlin - Coming Home to Berlin". Nice title indeed to show that not only Italians can be creative, far from it. In Berlin there is less pressure. Of course you need to eat every day and try to sell to the best spots but sometimes you just need a little something to go another step forward (help from a friend, a press article, a photo in a fashion magazine ...). I can't miss it and after my apéritif at Botzow Privat I'll meet some friends to start the vernissage & Slide Jam's tour.
Monday, May 19, 2008
We learn that Berlin wants to restrict plastic surgery made to teenagers. Yes you read correctly, teenagers ask for more and more surgery in our world of image. I can understand the bad psychological effects that can have a disgracious (whatever) when you're 17 but I hardly agree with the fact that my parents would have offer me a boob job for my graduation ! So here It's not only a problem with the children, It comes from the parents who accept and allow (and pay) the surgery. Berlin officially announces those figures : 40% of the young girls between 9 (!!) and 14 would like to have liposuction and 10% dream to have a boob job. In one word, 10% of the non-medical surgeries are made to minors in Germany. "We must react" says health secretary ; indeed, darling. But how ? They nicely suggest to have a mandatory time for thinking of 6 weeks between the appointment at the doctor and the operation or to be advised by 2 doctors : I'm sure the second one will make a better deal to gain the market ... At least advertising regarding this subject is prohibited and some paediatrician want to go further with prohibition of tatoos and piercings for young under legal age. In 2 years in Germany the number of plastic surgery has raised from 400 000 to 1 million. 20% of the people complain about second effects going to unsatisfaction regarding the result (what a surprise ! maybe too much expectation and not enough information ?) to infection and insensitivity feeling. True false Fake real
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The café Karvana is a nice place in Fridrichshain. Near the very touristic Simon-Dach Str. this café-lounge have good coffee (It's already something) and from their place you can reach the trendy places to have fun in the neighbourhood. During summer, terraces are over crowded, sunday is brunch-time and you can enjoy a walk (if you can) at the flee market in Boxhagener Platz. The café is proposing as well lectures. A novelist is invited in the evening to read part of one of his books and then comments are welcome. It's the occasion to have a bit of culture in Goethe's language and to hear what people have to say regarding the subject. Next Tuesday at 8.00 p.m. will be introduced Kriss Rudolph (.com) to read more about "Heute ziehst du aus". You need to book your seat to sip your glass of wine next to him (or next to me ...).
Yesterday was the international day against homophobia. This day was selected when the World Health Organisation (WHO?) banned homosexuality from the list of mental disorders on the 17th May 1990 (1990 !!!!). Since 4 years this official date give results of their fight for the recognition of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Many states around the globe have already recognized this day as official by different ways : official declaration, vote, ... but not France. This was one of the point that was requested to the government yesterday. The aim of the organization is the more we'll talk about us, the biggest chance we'll be recognized thanks to public demonstrations or pedagogical actions. The gay world (included gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual people) is very attentive to the attention that the government has now on them. Of course the government also has a very critical look on the actions the organization make. To make this day again homophobia legal is a good thing, to establish a politic that produce real effects against discrimination is even better and that is where the governement is expected because if some results are already there, on many files, nothing is done.
We can talk of them as refugees : those (very) young guys who are vanished from their family (again mostly godly) because they just tell the truth and declare their sexual orientation. Thanks to a (unique !) association in France, Le Refuge, young gays can find a place to live in safety because in their own family they were not : one of the witness explains that he's been told people like him (gays!) go to hell and whenever his mother saw homosexuals on TV she would say "the end of the world is near" (sic !, anyway, daaaaaaarling with people like you, definitely yes). So poor lonely guy has to hide what he probably wants to share with the entire world and must watch out his behaviour. Unfortunatly for him (or maybe not ?) he didn't watch out enough and as soon as his family learned it, he was banned and doing that the last word of the mother was "you're dead for me" (where is the father ?). When you're young you never think anything is wrong. You're born free of any judgement or idea about anything. I don't claim bringing up children free of morality is a good thing but whenever they are capable of, make them think by themselves. If there are so many deviances in our world It's maybe because frustrations rule the world. It's like the boy has been convicted of crime by his own family. When he found his luggage at the front door and after a night crying he left "home" and multiplied sex relationships only to find a bed to sleep. And It's not a matter of being grown up in a wealthy family or not, It can happen to everyone. When you hear from your own parents that they prefer to know you dead instead of alive and gay, you want to leave and the way to comit suicide or to prostitute yourself comes "easy". Thanks to this assossiation youngs can find for a little help and to admit that this is no disease. I would definitely engage the boy to sue his family for not doing a good job and to not accept their responsability.
The result of the efforts is that the french governement has now officially recognised the day against homophobia and is engaged to fight violations of human rights against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and France will take profit of Its presidency at the European Union to ask for a universal depenalization of homosexuality at the second semester 2008. There is a lot of work to accomplish when you look at Poland, for example, or Ouganda where discrimination is openly encouraged. So It is a big step but if we look not very far back away, and only a few weeks, France still does not legalize gay unions. California just did. How will my country manage this non-sense ? Future will tell. Let's go out for a coffee now, It's sun-day.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
You think most of the time and because of the images that medias give you, almost everything is going well in the best of the world. True. The more we talk about things, the more they are known and normally help to find a positive answer that will satisfy everyone (and hopefully accepted by the majority, not that easy). You will notice as well that the more permissive you try to be and "authorize" people to satisfy their needs, you sometimes wake up the opposite. I explain with an example. Gays are now visible in everyday's life (not in every country but there is a start). This is first strange to say because if you were at school you probably learned at the chapter Greec History that nobody at the time needed to talk about homosexuality because it was common sense. Anyway, with the evolution of our occidental society, most of the actions are rythmed by mercantile actions, meaning that we would buy something with less spontaneity if we are the right target of the advertising. A french company specialized in selling on the web matresses advertised on the basis that its products are for everyone and put in situation Every kinda people : straight couple, mother and her child (why not a father ?), a woman alone, a gay couple. This is this last visual that provokes the trouble. When I find this pretty normal because It goes in the way that gays want to gain "equality", some people need to react violently against arguing this is insane. The company selling the product explains that they wanted to cover as much people as possible and so a forciori gays have to be included. But while creating the campaign It was absolutly not an important matter. The moto of the campaign is "and you, how do you sleep ?" and they took representative categories. They never thought they would receive calls and mails saying that instead of wanting you to buy a new mattress the company wanted to make you change your sexuality ! This reacosphere is mainly made of ultracatholics and they enjoy creating a debate when there should be none. They call it : "reinformation". Those people seem to be very young (less than 25 years old) and their argumentation is based on the catechism which claims that "homosexuality is disorganized" (anyone ? find me the chapter, please !). They know how to use the web and positioned themselves as victimized because in the end all they want is that we talk about them. The company did not do anything and left the adds in the city and I am thankful for that. The chief of the company could not help himself, nevertheless, to explain that this visual with the gay couple is under numbered with only a 100 of images on a total of 1000 for the whole campaign. But he says as well that the gay community is part of our society and we can't just stay blind. I think I need a new mattress.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Funny how sometimes your own events meet real life. Following what was written yesterday, I heard this morning on the radio RFI (french program you can follow anywhere in the world) that Europe will be out of cereals soon. Some reasons for that : population is growing (for whatever we think, Europe makes babies and we have a longer life expectancy), drought in Russia and Australia, using of reserves since years. That means Europe will have to open its borders and knowing the French we will hear about it very soon (the farmers will disagree protecting their market). It seems that France is thinking about a new revolution because one of the untouchable constitutional right is being threatened these days : the right to strike (and we are famous for that, tourists coming back from Paris can testify) because the government declared a "minimum service" which says you just can't let the doors closed : schools for example (what do you do with the kids when there are no teachers), trains (how do you go to work if you can't) ... . This is the biggest step ever but after decades of supremacy France discovers that without questioning the right to strike, people seem to be fed up being hostages. I agree in a way because this arm wrestling between civil servants and the government is always at the disadvantage of the same working class who started long ago to rebel themselves and seem now to be (finally) listened.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
A colleague of mine asked me to watch a french-canadian documentary last evening regarding the food problem in the world. She is very engaged in many ways and I respect that a lot because I am not : my life must be happy and simple. I know It sounds very selfish and It is but it took me years to be where I am at now. Furthermore the more I was involved until now in things the more I had troubles that even a psychiatrist drogued me to untie the knots. But It's not to say that I don't pay attention and I am not concerned, on the contrary. There are things I just can't let pass by. Nevertheless It can be brought to my attention things I would never have had registered. Like "Supersize me" showed us how addicted we are (didn't you know it ?) or "An inconvenient truth" alarmed us about the global warming (did you know, my dear, the sun will soon hit our planet ? ... more dessert, Honey ?) this "World according to Monsanto" demonstrates how bad this chemical (Roundup?) american company is and how it wants to rule the world by the cereal. There are interesting parts : US advertising for new GMO, France saying No to everything, Mexico preserving the cereal safety of the world (where farmers take the best corn of the year, keep it for the year after and put it on earth as a standard), India suddenly waking up and learning the meaning of the world (according to ...). In the end we don't learn many things new. It's always the same : the bad worldwide company and the poor people who tries desperately to fight the monster. It is good that people do those researches and show us that It (unfortunately) exists. Most of the time It is a good reminder that we should be more careful for our health and I understand German who seem more aware or down to earth choosing all those bio-products (but I am still not convinced most of the time ... especially with the prices !). There was time farmers were dependant of Mother Nature and prayed that the harvesting will be important following good will (not too many but enough water, sun or insects), now the company obliges you to change your rates and makes you buy everything from them (seeds, pesticides ...) and ruins you. Regardless all the bad things we can think and/or fight I would nevertheless keep in mind that those international groups give to millions of people a job. Fighting them is maybe a good thing to make them realize that they can go the wrong way but what will happen if those employees are all on the pavement ? It is not said in the documentary and that's what I always mention : we only see one side of the pill. It would have been nice to show that because of those groups how many people are eating today ? Don't forget that on the planet more and more live and we all need to eat, and quickly ; have a better life (for whichever reason)? I don't agree with, I just say weight pro and contra. I won't be here to see how this will improve (or not ?) or which influences will have the transgenic experiences on planet Earth when seeds will be freed. You can't help yourself thinking that It is already "work in progress" because the next generation has already everything bigger (Everything I said : height, hands, feet, whatever you have in mind and I have it too but I don't do youngs) and how men and women look more and more alike. Aliens, isn't it ? Careful what you eat or read the packaging. Sowing the seeds of love.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I don't often go to the movie but I loooove series. Whenever I have time I can go for a season in one time. It happened with Dexter and it happened again with Damages. The plot : "Launching a pitched battle against corporate titan Arthur Frobisher (Danson), Patty Hewes (Close) is determined to destroy him with a class action civil suit after he was let off free in a government case, despite the scandal that surrounded his flameout. But the serie begins on an even more ominous note : a bloodied, terrified young woman has run from her apartment". And that's what is good in this story because you never end to get clues and to have piece by piece the whole story. So in the end of the 13th episode, you still get news and of course what was expected the little thing that makes you think there will be a second season (I think even 2 followings are planed). But I am grateful that for the first one we have it complete. From episode 1 to 13 you have the full story and you are always surprised. You are allowed to be naïve and to wonder what will come next and that's the trick because even if it is bed-time you can't help yourself putting on the next episode. All the characters are good and of course Glenn Close is fabulous. It's not too much as it was in "Fatal Attraction" but more likely "Dangerous liaisons". Her best part for me was "Things you can tell just by looking at her". I heard the actress Rose Byrne is the next star of the big screen ...
Monday, May 12, 2008
It seems that the new tendency in Berlin to stay is the multiplex, meaning it's everything in once : a youth hostel with rooms for 10 or less and bathroom to share at the floor and double rooms with private bathroom. In the middle some other options, all this in a design location newly renovated, preferably in a trendy area with garden and all opportunities round the corner. It happened last february with Wombat's (friends who stay there say It is very valuable and for the price and location you can even enjoy your private terrace or have a drink in the lounge on the roof) and a second one just opened a few meters away : Pfefferbett. The name is a mix of Pfefferwerk and Bett (bed in case It's not clear). So you know where you are, in the middle of the green, downtown east. I found it by surprise. After the week-end work in the flat I needed a nice walk and went wandering in my area as usual. In the Pfefferwerk, outside the Biergarten (beer garden, can you imagine?) and the hostel you will soon have culture center and restaurants and probably other planed things that are not visible yet. Because I have friends coming over this summer I booked a room, breakfast and bike included (yes, you read correctly).
Last evening I was invited at a birthday party to a friend's place. Usually it's not the event you really enjoy going because you feel obliged to stay even when it did not even start or nothing around is interesting. But I gave my word, I had a difficult appointment a few hours ago and I knew I would enjoy the ride because it is a bit far from my place. I know some people as well so I would not be completely lost so I went. After the P.R. things, a glass of wine in my hand and a cig in the other one (smoke free inside the flat of course but I told already outside is the next cruising area) I start to listen around. Again, because german is not my language I have to accomodate my ear to the new sounds and the way people speak otherwise I won't be able to talk with them afterwards. I've been told It looks like that I just want to stay alone in my corner but not at all, It's just that I need to practice. Mostly guys are there and my second glass emptied I need a refull. Because some heard me talking when I went back to the balcony some of them started with the questions. It seems mandatory for the people to put in categories (where you born, where do you live, what do you do ...) when I never ask those questions. But I guess It's because for them I am still exotic (what the hell am I coming to make a living in Berlin ?). They all feel like my accent is "charmant" (in french in the text) and after all this chit-chat they started with the real questions between the french-german relationship. When president of France meets Prime of Germany and say that he loves her, nobody believes a word. But if I say that in Berlin I still meet people full of resentment against me nobody wants to believe it because they say their city is the city of freedom (I heard as well it is sin city!). But on return they can't help themselves affirming that from my side of the country French don't like German. Well if you take it this way, we don't like English neither. And nobody likes anybody. It is again this way German have not to accept they can be wrong and make you feel guilty. It's one of their strongest behaviour. Not one of them will say the contrary, try to understand my difficulties or at least give me the benefice of the doubt. But they also confirm that the other way round is very very complicated when they come to France. The difference is that I try to understand the situation, accept it and put it at my advantage when they think all is theirs. Start by learning the language, Daaarling, that helps. Outside of that I almost spent my time on the balcony. Some started to leave because there was some nice parties downtown because of the long week-end (today is bank holiday) and I soon finished my drink. Conversations are nice but when I see a a guy (whose 20 years' boyfriend just left) starting sniffing my ass, It's time to go away and have a nice last glass anywhere at the terrace.
I can carry on moving with the bike with this beautiful weather but it will change soon and I'll have to find a solution. The people of Cin-King made your dream true. For every of your use you might find the one to suit you. My favorite is the Naked Wonder for its capability of being parked anywhere.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Since last Thursday takes place in Berlin the Carneval of cultures. It's mostly in Kreuzberg with its multi-kulti tradition. At day you find exhibitions and demonstrations. It's very colourful and easy going. At night it's party time and you never finish to enjoy the different style of music and DJ's. A must-do in the year and we are very lucky with the beautiful weather.It's the occasion as well to improvise discos in the park, to meet in a café and ask musicians to play a set or towatch sunset on the bridge... and of course to meet new people.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Talking with my (girl)friends last evening between cheese and dessert I agree with them that sometimes in public places you just don't want to go to the toilets and especially when it is a gay disco. The girls can't have any privacy and let's say it straight you don't really look where you pee, and even less when you're drunk (among some other visual and audible discoveries in those places). Well ladies, some thought about it and found out for you solutions. It's called whiz, it's australian (but is already known with some other names in different countries) and you don't need anymore to be frightened going in the toilets of train, motorway, or neighbour. It's in plastic, easily washable and foldable, takes the space of a mobile telephone. So from now on whenever you feel like doing it feel free to unzip your pant after walking in the rain, put yourself in the corner of the street and share. It has its advantage : looking at studies the human needs to pee beween 6 and 7 times a day (don't get scared if you're not in this rate, it's average). Men who time it say the morning one is the longest one (1 minute due to the accumulation of night sleep). The rest of the day, time varies between 40-45 seconds. For women, it's longer, especially in winter. Purple colour is "in" these days but you can be sure that black will be available soon, much more discreet in the handbag. Don't let it fall on the floor.
There is a big debate this week in France : a french gay lives with his boyfriend in the Netherlands. Gays in this country can get married but in my country you can't. Following dutch-french regulations voted in 1985 and re-examinated in 1996, either of citizen who marries his beloved from the other country looses his nationality except by special request. This goes for straight couples. The newly married french gay goes to the french consulate to renew his ID. France makes its investigation before delivering the paper and finds out. Result : the french looses his french nationality. From every politcal side in France is coming violent discusions stating that in the european community France is far behind other countries (Spain, UK and Belgium authorize as well gay marriage). President of France said during his campaign that he will do something regarding this matter but how can he satisfy a majority (and I am surprised people believed in it) when the right side is strongly attached to the traditional scheme daddy-mummy-baby ? He engaged himself in a third way proposing a "civil union" (?!) speaking of a recognition of the gay love (can't we simply talk about love ?) to guarantee equality (for example regarding succession). Strangely in 1999 France was one of the leader when PACS was created (civil contract, other countries followed the example) but when it was expected gay to adopt and use it, it had more success with straights. A gay marriage has been in 2004 celebrated in France by a mayor (ecologist) but was illegaly pronounced by french justice. Most of the political left side tenors announced proudly that they are favorable for gay marriage and adoption as well as 60% of french people. Surprisingly the effective reaction was to improve the PACS when no-one before this event saw utility to do so. As per today french government will not move.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
In many countries today May 1st is a bank holiday. In my country if I translate it, it's called the "day of work", isn't it funny a bank holiday named like this ? There is a possibility it comes from Chicago in the US. To make it short, workers obtained the 8 hours day of work after a big strike in 1886 (and has nothing to do with the labour day). 3 years later in France, in order to celebrate the universal exhibition and the century-old french revolution the socialist party decided to meet to demonstrate and to reduce the duration of a day work to 8 hours (48 hours a week, only sunday is not worked). May 1st, 1891 in north of France (this was the industrial part of the country with mines) demonstration was tragically ended by police with 9 dead people. Since then this date finds its roots traditionally as a fight of the european workers and became soon international when in 1920 Russia decided that this date will not be worked and will be the legal workers day. This example is followed by many countries. Today in France people still demonstrate a lot to warn the government that Unions are ready to start negociations to make work life in better conditions even if it has nothing more to do with the past centuries but we are at this point today thanks to people who fought for us and still do. Frankly speaking it's mostly about money that we talk about but season's opened. In ex-west-Germany we don't really pay attention to this date except that we don't go to work but in ex-east-Germany it has more to do with young socialists. Traditionaly they wear a red carnation flower when in France we offer lily in the valley to our families and people we love. This year May 1st is a Thursday and most of people deserted the city because if you take a day of holiday you can leave 4 days looking for the sun in Spain. I stayed because my friends came over for the week-end. The city is full of tourists and you can hear everywhere every language except german. Anyway we went out last night and I discovered with big surprise that round my corner the Pfefferwerk just reopened. It's been under work for months and it's newly lighted and looked of course beautiful. There it's a multicultural place and also a garden where you can share drinks. In the underground you find my beloved Bassy club where yesterday there was a 1920's party (pictures on the website). No demonstration today in the area (it's done far east of the city) so the centre looks empty and the museums are packed. Tomorrow for me is work day.
I received this link as a comment the other day regarding L.A. shorts unfortunatly without note so I can't make nor publish any opinion about it. But you know me, I'm a good heart and I like to help. And furthermore I like the short films, so if it can help the festival to be alive and film makers to be on the red carpet, I'm happy to share.
The book helps me to fall asleep but sometimes I write down things that I find interesting. I found back a note which reminds me of a novel I read. The subject is how far people can go to have children when they can't have any the natural way. I marked "... yes it's like we're living in two worlds," she said. "There's the world where people have too many children, and they get sick and starve and die, and our world, where people want to have them and can't". How accurate even if I'd say there are even more than two worlds on our planet. In Donna Leon's